MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
Once, the turbulent period of 1857 was brought under control by the British, the economic plight and the literacy rate of Muslims had dropped to an alarming degree. Their overall situation was so grave that they were suffering untold miseries and unbearable pains of having lost power to a military force of an alien country, which had no right to be in India. The Muslim scholars and spiritual leaders of the community were farsighted enough to visualize the nightmares that the Muslims were going through. The British had left such a deep impact on their memories after spilling their blood and killing those caught in the most savage manner, so much so, that they decided to erase from the subcontinent all traces of rich eastern values taught by Islam to Muslims along with their traditions and cultural heritage.
In turn, this inspired other Muslims to enter into the all-embracing fold of enrolling their wards in English Schools and Colleges, who became deeply impressed with the technical know-how that imparting knowledge to vulnerable young Muslim minds became the monopoly of the British who made light of their religion and culture of Islam until they started hating them. By and large, Muslims had become alien in their own lands. Having born and bred up as Muslims, they started despising everything about Islam under British tutelage, which encouraged them to learn more about the Western Thought by making Christianity as a subject that was taught compulsorily to all Muslims, until the Muslims knew more about Christianity than they knew about Islam. The process was contusing in different parts of the country with an alarming speed.
There were countless number of other Muslim intellectuals who could recite by heart large passages from Shakespearean dramas, and quoted Emmanuel, Kant, Marx, and Engels – the philosophers of Europe – much better than they knew about the tenets of the Religion of Islam, or the sacred book of Islam, the Qur’an.
For a time, chaos reigned in the minds of Muslims of India. The war of 1857 had also brought with it new ideologies, which were imported from foreign shores. All over the country, the Eastern values were being erased. The Western power had spread the network of modern English schools and colleges to change the mentality of Muslims. The foreign minds were busy making plans to this effect. For this reason, the parliament of London had dispatched a huge number of Christian priests and missionaries to India to obliterate the religious and cultural existence of the Muslims. The Muslims of India were introduced to foreign philosophers and English literature.
On the other hand, there was an accursed person who was born in India and who was raised under the supervision of the British power titled “Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani” who claimed to be the promised Messiah. At last, he came with the claim that he was the Messenger sent to the world by Allah. In this way, he impressed millions of Muslims negatively. It was felt by many that Islam was in great danger in the future. It was totally jeopardized. Under these pernicious times, some of the chosen servants of Allah started the campaign of Islamic education.
The Muslim scholars of India did not lose hope of reforming the other Muslim intellectuals to revert back to the fold of Islam in its entirety. Keeping this objective in mind, the luminous personalities of Islam, Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanawtawi, his companions Maulana Zulfiqar Ali, Haji Abid Hussain and Maulana Fazlur Rahman and a few others laid the foundation of Darul Uloom, Deoband, the most prestigious university in the subcontinent. At the same time, Maulana Mazhar Nanawtawi laid the foundation of Mazahir Uloom at Saharanpur (U.P). The Tablighi Jama‘at, the largest grassroots Muslim organization in the world, headquartered in Nizamuddin, New Delhi, was founded in 1926 by Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, the greatest thinker of twentieth century. These Islamic institutions, especially Darul Uloom, and Tablighi Jama‘at have played a key role in the preservation of Islamic culture and heritage across the globe. The graduates trained in these institutions defended every possible attack against Islam and its teachings. These institutions produced a unique galaxy of Muslim scholars who performed permanent key roles in preserving the social background of the Indian Islamic culture and eastern values.